“Well, everything is just as it should be,” my doctor tells me with a bored little smile.
“But what about …” I cough. “Well, you know; I don’t want any more kids, and the IUD is well over five years old, and …”
She laughs! Bloody woman.
“I seriously doubt there’s any risk of you getting pregnant,” she says. “You’re too old.”
Hey! Okay, so she’s my doctor and therefore allowed a certain bluntness, but how about wrapping this rather sad truth in some cotton wool?
“I’m not that old,” I protest.
“Too old, my dear,” she insists.
I am out of sorts when I leave the medical centre. It’s not as if I want to have more kids – what I want is a loft apartment and a red BMW Z4 (how pathetic is that) – but there’s still an element of having crossed some sort of line here. I no longer belong among the young and fertile, I am now one among the “past their prime” group. Except, of course, that I am definitely in my prime. I flex my arms and am thrilled to see my biceps bunch – a bit.
A couple of hours later I stagger into a café and collapse into a chair. I am in serious need of a sugar rush, this as a consequence of VSS (Very Strenuous Shopping). Moments later, I have a pot of tea and a slice of something deliciously big and full of sticky chocolate in front of me. Bliss. I suck my spoon after each bite, and four or five bites into the cake I am sufficiently revived to take in the other people in the café. Most of them are female and young enough to need a functioning IUD. None of them are eating chocolate cake, it’s salads and wheat&rye bread. Poor them.
On the chair closest to mine, I’ve placed my shopping bags, and once I’ve finished my mood boosting little snack I just have to stick my hand into the biggest bag and caress the garment inside. A leather jacket, soft and supple to the touch, and with that smell so particular to new leather goods.
“I needed it,” I tell myself, feeling a twinge of guilt at having bought something so extravagant on impulse
“No you didn’t,” Ms Goody Goody whispers from her perch on my right shoulder. “And it’s far too expensive. Besides,” she adds with a little sniff, “it’s so cliché; woman suffers some sort of mini crisis, woman goes shopping. I expected more from you.”
Well, excuse me for being a disappointment …
“Don’t mind her,” my more adventurous me snorts, yanking at my hair. “She sort of wants you to be all intellectual, impervious to the more basic desires that afflict all women.”
Excuse me? I glare at my little devil. “I am intellectual,” I hiss.
“You?” My lesser self collapses in loud laughter. I spear the last piece of chocolate cake and munch it in silence (Well, thank heavens for that; people who talk to themselves while sitting alone in a café get a lot of odd looks).
“She’s right,” Ms Goody Goody says. As if I’d asked her …
“Your silly purchase today proves it,” she continues. “And what was the last book you read, hmm? Anything by Sartre? Borges?”
It was actually a mediocre crime novel. Before that it was a historical romance – quite good – and then there was the latest Sookie novel … Ms Goody Goody nods.
“Not an intellectual,” she states, “more of a quasi intellectual, a wannabe.”
A wannabee? I cough, cough again to dislodge the chunk of cake that has slid down my windpipe by mistake. “Not a wannabee,” I wheeze out loud.
Two young things in ridiculously short dresses, long, slender legs and perfectly coiffed hair turn my way.
“You okay?” one of them asks.
“Sure,” I say and smile until she turns away. But I’m not, not really. This has been a bad day, all in all. Not only have I been labelled “out of production” by my doctor, but I am now having to come to terms with the unpalatable fact that I probably don’t qualify as an intellectual due to shallow reading habits.
I stroke the sleeve of my new leather jacket and shrug. Who cares? And now that I have the jacket, I just have to find a way of financing that hot little BMW sports-car, and then Paris, here we come. A couple of years too late, admittedly, but better late than never, right?